Latics progress to the EFL Youth Alliance Cup national final after beating Bury courtesy of goals from Will McGuffie and Joe Gelhardt.
- EFL Youth Alliance Cup - Bury 0 Latics 2.
- Will McGuffie and Joe Gelhardt on target to seal final place against Exeter City.
- Latics back to winning ways after three consecutive draws.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Latics got back to winning ways to earn a spot in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup national final courtesy of a 2-0 victory at Bury FC on Saturday morning.
Goals from Will McGuffie and Joe Gelhardt earned Latics a deserved win, with the latter scoring his fourth goal in four games across both the Development Sauad and Under 18s.
Latics, who were searching for their first win in four games following three consecutive draws, made four changes following on from their 0-0 draw with Fleetwood Town.
McGuffie returned to the team in place of Neil Monaghan in midfield, whilst Mackenzie O’Neil replaced Divin Baningime and forwards Charlie Jolley and Gelhardt came into the starting line-up for Kyle Joseph and James Berry respectively.
Despite a tense opening 15 minutes, Latics broke the deadlock to take first advantage in the Youth Alliance Cup area final.
Jensen Weir’s corner was cleared, only as far as Mitchell Culshaw who beat his man and delivered an inviting ball towards the back post, which was met by the head of McGuffie and his effort came off the bar to give Latics the perfect start at Carrington Training Ground.
Latics threatened to inflict more damage on their hosts just five minutes later.
Bury had a free-kick of their own and came close to an equaliser on the 26th minute. Hulme’s floated delivery was flicked on by Allardyce, but the latter’s header drifted inches wide with Bobby Jones beaten.
The hosts failed to deal with the threat of Culshaw as he delivered a dangerous cross again to the head of McGuffie who rose highest, but the midfielder’s effort went just wide on the 45th minute mark.
Latics came close again as chances went begging, Weir’s corner was flicked on by Obi towards Adam Long at the back-post, but the defender failed to call the Bury goalkeeper into action from six yards out.
Despite being under pressure at the start of the second-half, Latics should have doubled their advantage ten minutes after the restart.
Charlie Jolley’s flick on found O’Neill who played a neat interchange with Gelhardt before finding himself with room in the penalty area, though he failed to hit the target with his left-footed effort after a positive move.
Latics continued to press for the second goal of the game and came close again with less than 20 minutes remaining.
The influential Culshaw beat his man and found O’Neill at the back post, but the Nothern Ireland youth international failed to keep his header down.
Latics eventually got their second goal with ten minutes to spare to secure their place in the Youth Alliance Cup final.
The Shakers failed to deal with Luke Robinson’s corner, only for the ball to fall kindly to Gelhardt, who anticipated to poke the ball into the net from five yards out and send his team-mates delirious.
Latics held on at Carrington Training Ground to book their place in the Youth Alliance Cup final which will be against Exeter City.
Details on the final will be confirmed in due course.
Latics are back in action on Tuesday when they take on Bury FC in the EFL Youth Alliance at Christopher Park.
Latics: Jones, Maffeo, Obi, Long, Robinson, McGuffie, Weir, O’Neill (Joseph 80), Gelhardt, Culshaw, C. Jolley